One of the best things about New Orleans is the sense of community that goes from ward to ward and neighborhood to neighborhood. Bar Redux is a product of that community. Its exterior walls are lavishly painted on the exterior by local artists Michael Roman and Sanguine Skills/Jaguar and the bright red neon sign reading “BAR” above the door is their only real bling. It blends seamlessly with the environment flanked on its left by the graffiti scarred abandoned Naval building and the End of the World behind and past the tracks. Bar Redux as it is now known its coming up on its seventh anniversary. Its owners are a family of three. They all work the bar nearly every day of the week. Before the novel Corona-virus shut the world down they were operating seven days a week and had live performances on a nightly basis.
“A whisper is more effective than a shout,” the owner of the bar, Russ, said as he sat down with me in his back patio. The bar is owned and operated by Janya, Russ, and Damian Mercado. On any given night you can see Damian behind the bar like a modern day punk elf pouring drinks and laughing frequently. His mother Janya works the patio as a server taking orders from guests. In the kitchen Russ is dishing up the food. Except for the stacked chairs in the bar you wouldn’t know it was any different before Covid 19. The patio has the feel of your best friend’s back yard with a few eccentric art pieces thrown in for good measure. The family’s dictum from the beginning has been to allow the neighborhood to dictate what they needed from Bar Redux. For seven years their gentle approach to advertising has allowed the bar to grow and thrive. They are equal part harried and humble as they keep Bar Redux afloat in a time of uncertainty and despite their eccentricity what they’ve been doing works.
Bar Redux currently has a variety of art events and in house screenings. All of them are socially distanced and require masks at this time, but offer a variety of art and entertainment. Pop up Mondays, Strange Creatures on Wednesdays, and Video Killed the Radio Star every Thursday are just a few of the events they currently hold throughout the week. Strange Creatures feature a double feature of cult films like The Warriors, Jennifer’s Body, and Repo Man screened in the patio. Video Killed the Radio Star is a curated music video/dance night featuring Cutting Edge, an 80s video showcase, in the patio. If you are ever here in New Orleans, please stop by Bar Redux and meet real people who love this city.